Why Medical Marijuana Turns You Eyes Red and How to Fix It
Updated: Jan 8
Red eyes are a telltale sign that you’ve smoked marijuana. And it’s not only smoking that leads to bloodshot eyes. Eating cannabis edibles can also cause temporary eye redness.
For some people, bloodshot eyes happen every time they use a medical marijuana product. But for others, red eyes only occur occasionally—typically when they ingest higher quantities or use stronger cannabis products.
So, why does marijuana cause red eyes? And is there anything you can do to avoid this cannabis red flag?
Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?
It is THC’s effect on the body that causes your eyes to turn red when you smoke cannabis or eat an edible.
When THC enters the body, blood pressure decreases. This drop in blood pressure causes blood vessels, including the capillaries in your eyes, to dilate. The result of capillary dilation is increased blood flow to your eyes...and the telltale cannabis redeye.
But don’t fear—red eyes don’t signal that something’s wrong. In fact, some research suggests that cannabis compounds could benefit eye health in glaucoma patients. Just don’t go trying to treat any eye disease with marijuana. Further research is needed to determine how cannabis influences eye health, and if there is potential for cannabis compounds in treating eye conditions.
How to Combat Cannabis Red-Eye
Before we get into how you can avoid, or reverse, bloodshot eyes caused by THC, it’s important to understand that this effect isn’t dangerous. There is no need to worry about having red eyes. But if you don’t want others to notice that you’ve been smoking, there are things you can do.
1. Use Eye Drops: There are plenty of over-the-counter eye drops that make your eyes appear less bloodshot. Excessive use of these drops can cause irritation, so be cautious and don’t overuse them.
2. Drink More Water: Drinking water isn’t going to 100% clear up bloodshot eyes. But dehydration can make your eyes redder.
3. Consume Less THC: The more THC you consume, the redder your eyes will be. You can opt for a product that is lower in THC, or take a smaller dose. Of course, THC is the primary therapeutic compound found in marijuana, so this might not be an option.
Consuming medical marijuana can cause red eyes. The more potent the cannabis, the redder your eyes are likely to be. Rest assured that bloodshot eyes aren’t dangerous to your eye health. But if you want to look less inebriated, over-the-counter eye drops are your best option.